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AMC attendance surpasses 2019 levels for first time during the pandemic thanks to Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’

An AMC theatre is pictured in Times Square in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, June 2, 2021.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Disney’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” topped $90 million in sales at the domestic box office over the four-day Labor Day weekend, helping AMC Entertainment smash its admissions record for the holiday.

More than 2 million people watched movies at AMC’s U.S.-based cinemas between Sept. 2 and Sept. 5, marking the highest number of admissions for Labor Day weekend in the company’s history.

This holiday weekend also marked the first time since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic that attendance during a weekend in 2021 outpaced attendance from the same weekend in 2019.

“This encouraging surge in attendance at AMC signals that as Hollywood releases movies, Americans eagerly want to return to movie theatres again,” said CEO Adam Aron in a statement Tuesday.

Shares of AMC jumped about 7% during intraday trading Tuesday.

Aron pointed to the new Marvel film “Shang-Chi” as the main driver of foot traffic to AMC theaters over the holiday weekend.

“Shang-Chi” tallied $71.4 million in ticket sales over Friday, Saturday and Sunday — the second-highest opening during the pandemic — just behind “Black Widow,” which tallied $80 million during its debut in July.

Its total box office haul for the four-day holiday weekend topped $90 million, nearly triple that of the previous Labor Day weekend record holder “Halloween,” which was released in 2007 and collected $30.6 million.

Ticket sales have traditionally been weak over the Labor Day holiday, as studios have not debuted major blockbuster features over that weekend. As a theatrical-only release and part of the Marvel franchise, “Shang-Chi” easily outpaced previous debuts.

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